MHA hints Kokborok may not be included in 8th schedule

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AGARTALA, APRIL 27: In a reply to Lok Sabha MP Jitendra Chaudhury on the inclusion of Kokborok in the 8th schedule of the Constitution, which is a long-standing demand of the tribal parties of the state, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has indicated that granting official language status might not be possible at the moment.
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the Ministry had examined the demand for inclusion of Kokborok in the 8thSschedule but there is no criterion yet to distinguish between languages and dialects.
Rijiju said, “So far as inclusion of all the leading languages, including Kokborok, in the 8th Schedule is concerned, the evolution of dialects and languages is dynamic, influenced by socio-political developments. It is difficult to fix any criterion for languages, whether to distinguish them from dialects or of inclusion in Schedule VIII.”
Rijiju’s letter also mentioned that 2 committees – Pahlwa in 1969 and Sitakanta Mohapatra in 2003 – were set up to evolve such fixed criteria, but the efforts did not bear fruit. The Government is conscious of the sentiments and requirements for inclusion of other languages, the letter added.
Regarding the demand of amending some provisions of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution for empowering the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC), Rijiju said the matter has been discussed with the state Government and is under the consideration of the Centre.
Reacting to the development, MP Chaudhury pointed out that BJP and IPFT had won the 2018 Assembly elections on the back of promises to empower the ADC.
He said, “BJP had said they would form a high-level committee to give more power and financial autonomy to the ADC. They had also promised Kokborok language will be included in Schedule VIII of the Constitution. I had just referred the issue for getting clarification from the Central Government run by BJP because they were giving tall promises before the election. However, since the BJP-led Government has been sworn in, there has been no effort to address the issues, which has prompted IPFT to speak openly against BJP.”
IPFT vice-president Ananta Debbarma said there will be no compromise on the demand for a separate state of Twipraland and warned of a movement unless an inter-ministerial modality committee is formed to look into socio-cultural, economic and linguistic issues of indigenous communities. (TNN)